Does this sound familiar?  You are so excited about a new curriculum you found.  You introduce the curriculum to your children.  They are not excited about it, but that’s ok.  It’s new!  Give it time.  Several weeks pass and the curriculum is becoming a CHORE and everyone dreads it when you pull out the book.  Finally, you throw up your hands and throw out the curriculum.  

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The Substitution Story

I love curriculum planning.  Sometimes I get more out of planning than I do teaching the curriculum I’ve picked out!  That’s why it is such a BUMMER when something I have researched, thought about, or sampled doesn’t work for my family.  

Picking out a curriculum takes so much time and effort, but every year I have something that I have to toss out.  It is so disappointing!  I wonder if it is worth it.  Every year I have to give a resounding YES! I am never disappointed with the results of substituting a subject, and here’s why:

  1. The relief of getting rid of something that doesn’t work for us is always there.  It feels like a weight is lifted from my shoulders!  
  2. The children actually end up learning MORE!  When they connect with the curriculum, learning is so much more complete.
  3. I get to do some extra planning!  (hehe!)  Sometimes this also means I get to do some creative finances as well, but that just makes the challenge more interesting.  

The Substitution Situation

We make substitutions in our daily lives all the time.  If we can’t have dairy, we substitute coconut or almond milk.  If we can’t have sugar, stevia is a good substitute.  If we can’t go walking outside because of rain, yoga inside will have to do.  Sometimes we make do, and sometimes we find the substitution is actually better!  

Substitution Tips

  • Try to identify what it is about the curriculum that is not working and what would be better.  This will keep you from making the same mistake with another curriculum! 
  • Decide if the curriculum needs to be substituted or if you can just toss it out!  Sometimes downsizing can give you breathing room and open the doors for other types of learning.
  • Some questions to think about if you’re on a tight budget.  Do you already have something that can be modified to work?  Do you know someone who might have something you can borrow?  Can you find a cheaper digital option?  Does the curriculum company have a return policy?

This Year’s Substitution Saga

I have had a different type of substitution situation this year.  Our location has made it difficult to use some of our curriculum choices.  Our internet is super slow because we live in the mountains in Papua, Indonesia.  

My children were so excited about an online curriculum called SKrafty, that uses minecraft to teach lessons that they have been learning.  I tried it ahead of time, so I thought we were good to go.  Unfortunately, some of the internet components haven’t worked for us.  My son was so frustrated, he decided to cancel his subscription completely and go offline with his learning. 

My daughter was willing to modify the program slightly so she could continue with the SKrafty lessons.  The customer service at SKrafty has been so helpful and willing to work with us.  Now my daughter will watch the videos as the internet allows, and instead of using the special Minecraft server, she will do her assignments on her single player edition of Minecraft.  She loved the format of her lessons so much, the inconvenience was worth it to her!

What have been some of your top curriculum substitutions in your home?  Share Below!

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